Back to work and beating the virus

The government doesn’t have a choice of either controlling the virus or promoting jobs and growth. It has to do both. So far anti virus policies have dominated, with ruinous effects on the travel, leisure and hospitality industries. The PM is now looking at options to avoid a new national lockdown to control the virus.

Policy has to centre on

1 More intense medical discussion and analysis drawing on worldwide experience of which drugs and treatments can cut the death rate of serious hospital cases.

2 Help with continued shielding of those most vulnerable to serious forms of the disease.

3. Good trace and test systems so more carriers can isolate.

To generate economic recovery we need further relaxation of general restrictions on economic activity. I pointed to the way green policy is damaging large industrial and energy sectors yesterday. Today I highlight the travel, leisure and hospitality sectors.

Some leisure and hospitality businesses think there is no point in opening at all under current regulations, and some are still banned from opening. Some have re opened but face turnover well down owing to the need for social distancing and new methods of working which raise costs. A minority have adapted their business model to new conditions and are trading well. Given current levels of demand and the nature of the government interruptions the majority are unlikely to be able to do this.

On the plus side for the U.K. industry are some of the quarantine restrictions and bans on foreign travel. The decision on Spain in particular gives the U.K. holiday industry a real boost as you would expect many more people to holiday in the U.K. These same regulations undermine foreign tourist serving businesses like Bicester Village and central London.

Talking to some of the affected businesses I encountered one which saw a market opening for top end take away prepared dinners delivered to time share accommodation and is doing well. I found a travel business that has a back up contract for the NHS who as a result has abandoned the traditional visitor travel they offered. I have seen several shuttered businesses, often with older owner managers who wish to avoid social contact with the public. I have seen varied interpretations of the rules by hotels and restaurants prepared to run with lower occupancy and fewer covers.

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  1. Stephen Priest
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    Stop this nonsense that pubs must close for schools to open.

    Schools must open without exception. Experience from other countries shows that schools are more than safe to reopen.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 6:16 am | Permalink

      Context is everything.

      John is correct to say that the UK must draw on best practice around the world. In conjunction with that, then schools may open when conditions are right.

      But these must not be hollow words.

      The behaviour of this virus – unlike that of some voters – can only be controlled by real, material actions, not by silly slogans.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 6:38 am | Permalink

        Control the behaviour of voters eh? Chilling words.

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted August 4, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

          Martin from the proud principality is the embodiment of the authoritarian left. shivers

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

          So how else was the referendum won by a campaign of distortions, half-truths, and falsehoods?

          • Fred H
            Posted August 4, 2020 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

            it was won by electorate VOTING.

            This really is boring – can’t you moan about something else?
            Cardiff beaten by Fulham in the football playoff?

          • Mike Wilson
            Posted August 4, 2020 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

            Heaven knows Remainers distorted and lied through their teeth from 1973 until now. You just can’t stop yourselves.

          • NickC
            Posted August 5, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

            Martin, That’s Remain projection. To cover up Remain lies, Remain launched its well known “we wuz robbed” propaganda whine against Leave. Problem for you is that Remain lost so we could see all the Remain projections that failed to come true.

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:36 am | Permalink

        The virus can be controlled – but at immense cost.

        Last year (before CV-19) PHE put a value on life at around £30k per year of extended life. Any treatment that cost more than £30k would be turned down as being too much for the NHS to bear.

        With CV19 the the bill for saving lives is likely to exceed £300bn this year alone – I don’t think this includes the suffering from job losses and the economic depression that is clearly on its way and will be with us for years if not decades.

        But that’s only to save lives from CV-19 – the NHS is failing to treat people suffering from other afflictions and letting them die (as with a young and otherwise healthy colleague and friend of mine last month.)

        We have reached the point where CV-19 deaths must be avoided at *any* cost and that includes people being allowed to die of other causes.

        Sunak’s extension of furlough was insane. I think it has sunk our economy.


        If I could compose a ‘silly’ slogan to get my point across to financial illiterates who think that money can be invented without total and lethal loss of creditworthiness I’d love to use it.

        • Anonymous
          Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

          PS Taking the extreme Imperial estimate of 600,000 lives lost the UK government has spent £538,000 per life saved in debt alone.

          The cost in lost businesses and ruined lives (and loss of life other than by CV19) is incalculable.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 4, 2020 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

          Countries which dealt promptly and effectively with their epidemics have suffered nothing near as “immense” an expenditure as this one has.

          You have the whole thing upside down.

          Sports stadiums are full in New Zealand, and life is basically normal for most people.

          • Anonymous
            Posted August 5, 2020 at 12:06 am | Permalink


            Once more.


            – New Zealand has a tiny population

            – New Zealand is not a global transport hub

            – New Zealand doesn’t get called racist whcn she closes her borders

            – New Zealand is largely monocultural

            – New Zealand still managed to produce a white racist mass murderer which Britain (with its far larger population and having suffered Islamic terrorism) has never done.

            Apart from the last point (and perhaps the monocultural bit) I’d rather have liked to have been a bit more like New Zealand, but Remainers wouldn’t let us be.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 5, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

            As it is in China, population 1.4 billion.

            And no, it isn’t all lies or fake news.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 5, 2020 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

            Of course all the statistics and press releases from China are believed by you Martin.
            Peer reviewed by the WHO

        • Iago
          Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

          Imaginary money, Peter Simple (Michael Wharton).

      • NickC
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        Don’t you usually pop up at this stage with a list of countries doing better than us, Martin? Not quite working out as you thought, is it?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

          It is.

          • NickC
            Posted August 5, 2020 at 10:55 am | Permalink

            So where’s your list?

    • Jim Whitehead
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:35 pm | Permalink


  2. Adam
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 5:14 am | Permalink

    Strong need for commerce pulls buyer and seller together. Gradually they will shift to mutually-attractive positions where they can safely exchange more easily.

  3. Mark B
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    That bang you just heard was the sound of the stable door being shut and the clipperty-clop in the distance was the horse.

    We were told that the government would be led by the science. Statistical analysis, a form of science if you will, says we are long past peak. The virus is not as dangerous as we have been led to believe and we are well past the point where the NHS needs saving.

    Many here were arguing that all we had to do was to protect those at high risk, practice social distancing, work from home if possible and not panic. The government panicked. It allowed itself to be fooled by a media both hostile to it and on need of a good story to sell. It was sold, and bought, FAKE NEWS !

    The Government should just announce that the manufactured crisis is over. That there will be no more restrictions and people can resume their normal lives. Stop wearing those silly muzzles, reopen parliament, and get back to work. It is time you MP’s started leading by example and not by barking orders behind the frontlines.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      ‘Silly muzzles’ are what will help my aged aunts and uncles – just released back into the wild – have a semblance of a normal life again after being cooped-up for 5 months. I have been shocked at the selfishness of young adults.

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

        They are silly muzzles. You can wear something over your face that you can see through when held up to the light, for all the authorities care.

        So long as we can’t see your nose or mouth. The mask itself can be as useless as a chain link fence against a swarm of mosquitoes for all they care.

        There is no medical standard for what type of face covering you must wear which should give you a clue that this was a sop to shouty people in the media with no real useful function – we have the ridiculous spectacle of young men being interviewed outside, socially distanced for F1 with face masks on.

        The real remedy – “wash your hands” (which I have been doing as a key worker and carer throughout lockdown) – has gone quiet.

        As for the ‘selfish young’ – they have no future. They have sacrificed theirs to give *some* of the elder generation a few years more life.

        And how lucky the older boomers, having their fathers storm the beaches of Normandy to save them and now their grandsons give up their jobs, livelihoods to suffer deprivation beyond the living memory of the vast majority.

        • beresford
          Posted August 4, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

          On Birmingham public transport I see chin masks, mouth masks, and no masks. Of course there was that gentleman who walked the streets wearing only a mask over his private parts. Rishi Sunak was pictured in a mask with an outlet relief valve which defeats the ‘objective’ of filtering his breath. As convincing as human sacrifices by a primitive tribe to ward off a coming lunar eclipse.

        • Cheshire Girl
          Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:47 pm | Permalink


          I don’t think you should ever tell young people they have no future. It is highly irresponsible.

          If one is young and healthy, there is always hope. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. A generation ago, young people grew up after 6 years of war. I was one of them. Things were hard, but we had hope of a better tomorrow. I pray it will be like that now. Young people need encouragement, and any help that can be given, to get through the present troubles, and make a better life for themselves.

          • Anonymous
            Posted August 5, 2020 at 12:00 am | Permalink

            I’m not addressing young people on this blog. I telling the Boomers what I think.

            In real life I’m keeping my lads (young men) in good spirits but I don’t envy their future and for once I actually envy the old.

            I seriously think we are on the road to war and I doubt this will be the last or the worst virus unleashed upon us.

      • Old person
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 10:22 am | Permalink

        Old people can be selfish too – they were young once themselves.

        As for the ‘silly muzzles’, do your own research. They do not protect the eye mucosa. The best available face masks outside of the medical professions are rated at PM2.5. That means the mesh size is 2.5 microns. A coronavirus is 0.125 microns. So the mesh size is 20 times greater. A bandanna face covering has a thread count of 200 meaning 200 threads in a square inch – 100 vertical threads (wasp) and 100 horizontal threads (weft). This translates to a mesh size of 1000 microns. So much for home made masks.
        A simple schoolboy experiment is possible – simply use air freshener and ask the face mask wearer to walk through the mist. It they can smell the air freshener, the mask is useless.

        The best advice is to use 99.9% alcohol/hand sanitiser before entering a vehicle (and after leaving a public vehicle), never touch your face, don’t cough or sneeze in public, and stay away from crowds.
        ( a cough can travel up to 8m indoors, and a sneeze 10m indoors)

        Why is it not mandatory for supermarket staff to wear face masks? They are in an enclosed indoor space during their whole shift and working hard to fill shelves.

        • Old person
          Posted August 4, 2020 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

          Typo should be IF instead of IT.
          Mesh size of 1000 microns should be 62.5 microns – reasoning still stands. Sorry, didn’t use pen and paper.

        • Stred
          Posted August 5, 2020 at 2:09 am | Permalink

          The idea of wearing a mask in enclosed spaces is to stop mucous droplets from exiting at high speed. Often people can’t get a handkerchief out in time. I am at risk and now am able to feel safe going into a shop.

        • Mark B
          Posted August 5, 2020 at 3:58 am | Permalink

          Brilliant post, and thank you.

      • Mark B
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

        I live next door to people who are at high risk. Last time I popped round to have a chat, this weekend, they were still very much alive.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      +1 and Sunak’s extension of furlough has ruined us.

    • Philip P.
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      Quite right. The Norwegian and Danish authorities admitted a little while ago that they overreacted to Covid and did not need to trash their economies. There is nothing to stop our government from doing the same, even at this late stage. Other than hysterical media lying with statistics, and their editors should be put back in their box once and for all.

      When you’ve taken a wrong turning down a dead-end, you just have to turn round. Nothing else will work.

      • Mark B
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 3:19 pm | Permalink


        My advice to government would be simple.

        When in a hole, STOP DIGGING !

      • NickC
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

        Philip, It’s like I, and many others, said at the beginning – without a cure or vaccine, herd immunity is the only option. The lockdown was to “save the NHS”. That’s done (although it turned out probably unnecessarily), so we should return to normal.

        That means schools opening early and completely. It means going back to work fully. It means some people will get Cv19. It means some elderly/infirm people will die with Cv19, just as they would die of pneumonia, flu, or colds. Life is a terminal condition.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

          Doesn’t seem to be the only option for quite a long list of countries.

          • NickC
            Posted August 5, 2020 at 11:06 am | Permalink

            Since even you can see the Cv19 virus increasing when lockdowns are lifted/ignored, yes it is. Without a cure/vaccine Cv19 will spread (because full isolation for the whole society is not feasible). Since Cv19 does spread (given no cure/vaccine), herd immunity is the only useful outcome. It’s not that difficult, Martin.

    • M H
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      Well said Mark B totally agree

    • Jim Whitehead
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:33 pm | Permalink


  4. Mick
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    Restaurants, cafes, pubs ,street parties, theme parks, airports and beaches are packed and yet it’s too dangrrous to go back to work or teachers to go back to school, Ridiculous. End All Furloughing Now.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      And civil servants, who haven’t been furloughed, need to be told back to work. Perhaps Charlie Mullins could deliver the message?

  5. Nigl
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    A consistent message would be a good start plus stop ‘lying’ I see it is alleged another u turn on testing, This time in all care homes which got the usual government spokesman meaningless bland response.

    Second lockdown a hysterical smokescreen to cover No 10s abysmal failures. I tend to agree.

    An unprecedented challenge but I can’t help thinking we should have been able to do better and the media has been shameful.

    Just ask the businesses that you speak to what about the key people responsible especially for the track and trace fiasco, still earning fat salaries, then stand well back!

  6. Polly
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    Heavily edited post –

    ”which drugs and treatments can cut the death rate”.

    Imho, there is something seriously wrong with the UK’s C-19 re-purposed drug therapy research program. On August 19, this will have been running for no less than five months with no real breakthrough so far despite a number of promising drugs being tested.

    Reply I have been pursuing this with the govt. One drug has passed trials for use. I am told any other that shows positive effects will be approved as soon as the trial proves that.

    Increased testing obviously means more cases detected. Prime Minister Johnson is using more cases detected to ramp up lockdown threats and the fear factor without making allowance for the increased testing.

    Reply More tests should mean more accuracy on incidence and R and lies behind the switch to local lock downs.Of course early numbers on incidence are likely to be less accurate.


    • Mike Wroe
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 6:48 am | Permalink

      If a business, hospitality or otherwise, finds it is unable to reopen because it is impossible to comply with social distancing measures and be profitable why not let them open and simply restrict who they serve. A publican could ignore social distancing guidelines entirely but serve only customers under 60 years old. Healthy under 60s are more likely to be struck by lightning than die of Covid. Pubs packed with younger people will lead to more cases but also lead us towards herd immunity. The older generation can enjoy pubs with beer gardens and keep safe!

      • a-tracy
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

        As long as these young people don’t live with at risk people, and don’t bother visiting their elder relatives.

      • Peter Cousins
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 8:25 am | Permalink


    • Polly
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:03 am | Permalink

      Insofar as R is concerned, increased testing will detect more cases, so up goes R, unless you compensate for increased testing.

      Increased detection doesn’t necessarily mean more infection. It probably existed anyway because mild cases are being being picked up which were not known about previously.


      • Roy Grainger
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

        No that’s not how they calculate R. They make a statistical estimate of R by extrapolating from actual positive tested cases to how many cases there are in total. So, more testing means more confirmed cases but not necessarily a higher R.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      But what will they do,
      When we all get the ‘flu?
      Winter’s coming!

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

        If people followed the covid19 measures properly, then that would also prevent the spread of flu.

        • Edward2
          Posted August 5, 2020 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

          Get out and about and tell them.
          You could be the masked crusader.

  7. Nigl
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    Off topic but sort of sums everything HMG does. I wonder what a well known singer feels when he was greeted with BBC cameras on his arrest and an ex government minister is granted anonymity?

    How relevant Animal Farm is even today.

    • formula57
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      @Nigl – He might feel their cases are dissimilar as there is a material distinction between being arrested and being questioned.

      Let us recall that the behaviour of both South Yorkshire Police and the BBC in the case of the singer was reprehensible but both have form.

  8. agricola
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    Cannot see why you highlight Bicester Village . I had reason to visit Bicester a week ago and decided to visit the Village shopping centre in the afternoon. The car parking was so jam packed I decided not to bother.

    The key to the dilema is rapid result testing, and a 90 minute turnround test was announced only yesterday. Once a national system of applying it is activated and health practiques issued the country can get back to normal operation of work and pleasure. The first thing you need to do is get GP doctors surgeries back to normal operation as test centres backed up with centres in supermarket car parks. Who in their wisdom decided that surgeries should be closed in a health pandemic.

    One can excuse wrong decisions being made during the early days of this crisis, and many were, but now the incoherance and irrational seem to continue. Now we have this rapid test it should be implemented at every airport and seaport in the country with an emphasis on incoming passengers. With the implementation of the above the country can return to normal operation pending a vaccination. Once proved effective it should be compulsory with sanctions for those who think otherwise without good reason.

    • Nigl
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 6:05 am | Permalink


    • Andy
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 6:32 am | Permalink

      Bicester Village relies heavily on Chinese tourists. And, at the moment, there are none of them.

      • agricola
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

        Well the airfield is only a grass one at which a gliding club operates. Upper Heyford has a long enough runway to take incoming jets from China and is close to Bicester. Having said that I can’t say I have seen any Chinese at Bicester Village, I think we have more in Benidorm. To me this is one of your more bizaare comments to date, but for a change harmless.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

        probably all in rooms hacking! Or, writing nonsense in this diary using English names, UK towns/cities?

    • Chris Dark
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      No vaccination should ever be compulsory without ensuring that it has been properly tested and trialled. From what I’ve read, the trials going on right now are showing unpleasant side effects. Certain companies are making arrangements to absolve themselves of responsibility in the case of any deaths or serious disfigurements. It is amazing how the common cold has never had a vaccine for it, yet coronavirus vaccine can be rustled up within months. How convenient. Have you never wondered why there is such a push for vaccinating the world? Plenty of money in it for certain vested interests. That’s why they don’t like HCQ. I am not anti-vaccination, but this whole corona scenario is a different kettle of fish.

      • agricola
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 10:29 am | Permalink

        Yes it has to be gold plated safe, we do not need a repeat of the Thalidomide disaster and ensuing scandal.

      • Suzette Burtenshaw
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

        My thoughts exactly. I’m not anti-vaccine either, but I’m anti- this ‘from test tube to arm in a year’ vaccine, whenever it arrives. I might think about it in 5 years but certainly not for the foreseeable.

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      No part of our country ought to be dependent upon Chinese or any other foreign tourists.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

        at last common sense – refreshing.

  9. Ian @Barkham
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    Good morning Sir John

    The Government seems to be complying with the MsM’s agenda, maybe it is time to step back and put the people in charge. Yes Government should explain the risks but after that it should leave the actual decision to the individual and common sense. Some will put their hands up in horror at that thought. But think about it the majority of the people have taken precautions, will take precautions as they no the risk. Most businesses have adjusted because they no the risk. What we have is a handful of idiots that wouldn’t comply to anything that are prolonging this out break and you can never legislate for them, they are just dumb idiots and we all adjust because of them. That means Government is punishing the majority because of the idiots, then to cap it all the idiots thrive in their own little world and blame others if it goes wrong – “government didn’t tell me”. Governing is not the same as ruling and its about time they got that into their thick skulls.

    It is not government ‘nannying’ that is solving anything, it is government ‘nannying’ that is hindering common sense and stopping us moving forward. One size cannot fit all or even the majority of the situations, every area, workplace, home is different and the better for it. We have a Government obsessed with Socialist Doctrine and power.

    Government being lead by the MsM is responsible for the trap we are in, not the virus.

    • Nigl
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:12 am | Permalink

      Perfectly put. I am hacked off that my efforts are ignored and wasted as HMG panders to the few. Again!

    • Everhopeful
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      “Everything under heaven is in utter chaos; the situation is excellent.”

      ― mao tse-tung

  10. Lifelogic
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    Indeed they clearly have to do both. Deaths each week are now running at below the five year average we clearly need to get back to work now.

    The first thing to do though is surely to find out why places like Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Singapore have a record of deaths (per positive case) that are so very, very much better than the UK rate and to try to replicate it.

    Covid deaths in the UK according to the government are 46,000 though excess death are nearer to 70,000. I maintain that the 70,000 is the better estimate but the government prefer (for some foolish reason) to put these extra 24,000 death down as due to the lack of other NHS service or other mysterious causes.

    But even using the governemnt figure of 46,000 deaths then had the UK matched the death per positive case figure of Switzerland dealth would have been 17,000, Germany 13,000 and Singapore just 155.

    Rather than clapping our state monopoly health system we need to ask why it failed about 30,000 people so appallingly.

    • Nigl
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 6:06 am | Permalink


    • Dave Andrews
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 6:33 am | Permalink

      Overweight people tend to fare badly with Covid-19. UK average BMI 27.3 (overweight), Singapore 23.7 (normal weight).

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        Yes and there is an age difference – but Germany still did far better?

        • Caterpillar
          Posted August 4, 2020 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

          What I to know is whether we were and whether we now are doing as well as Germany on a case matched basis. Early in the epidemic we seemed to have a policy of putting off people from seeking early care, the PM being a case himself.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 6:47 am | Permalink

      Maybe it didn’t fail 30000 people so appallingly. Maybe, for a variety of reasons, we are a nation of lardy arses who exist on a diet of junk food and take no exercise. We’re bad. The States is bad too. They are an even bigger bunch of lardy arses.

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink


        Interesting that it is the fast food restaurants who seem to be cashing in and benefiting from the meal deal subsidy.

        On the one hand we have the government trying to beat obesity and offering fitness solutions, bikes and the like, and on the other they are promoting junk food.

        Surely the simple solution to help businesses would have been a cut in taxes, rather than a subsidy on product.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 10:39 am | Permalink

        I do wonder if we had so many fatalities as we have kept the unhealthy alive for longer than other countries.

        I think it unlikely and we are just a nation of fatties (speaking as one who is finding it challenging to get to a BMI of 25).

        Rather than just having campaigns to reduce weight, it would be more productive to research why we have so many overweight individuals within the population, in my case it is nothing to do with education nor really cost. I just like feeling full and certainly do not get that kind of satisfaction from going out to work and pay taxes

        • Anonymous
          Posted August 4, 2020 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

          If you eat biscuits, pastry, white bread, sugary things there’s your problem.

    • Sharon Jagger
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      A hospital consultant wrote a comment on a Conservative Woman article a few weeks ago, and he confirmed that they had been encouraged to put Covid on as many death certificates as possible. Virus tests on one person, done more than once, each counted as a new case ..The hospital he worked at in Surrey, had been largely empty throughout, and in his opinion, having exchanged views with peers around the country – there has been no pandemic. He said the trust had also been running empty ambulances around with their sirens going with no job to go to.

      He confirmed all the stories people are telling. He thought that the figures were about 5-10 times greater than reality of cases.

      It seems a lot of the testing is showing up asymptomatic cases. I agree the worst is most definitely over – we need to get back to normal ASAP. We can still be sensible and hygienic.

      • Sharon Jagger
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

        This link confirms all the stories of data skewing and misleading numbers of Covid cases and deaths. It would seem it’s all down to the WHO.

      • Sea Warrior
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

        No COVID deaths in Portsmouth’s QA hospital for more than two months – but booking to get into my local Household Waste Recycling Centre took 10 minutes and more key-strokes than I usually tap out when booking a holiday.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        However deaths were reported it is inescapable that our excess deaths for the period were 70,000.

        Not all of those could have been down to withdrawn treatment for other ailments so it does suggest we had a high number of Covid related fatalities.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      As was suggested yesterday by some emanate professors in the scientific field. In more than doubling in the last month of our testing capacity, then seeing an increase of infections shouldn’t be a surprise.

      That in its self doesn’t prove the infection is growing, just more are discovered. Hospital admissions on the other hand are falling, so what does that prove.

      All it proves is HMG is not up to speed on logic, its and arts and craft club without a business or math appreciation between them.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      We are one of the fattest nations in Europe. We also have an NHS, which means lots of older people kept alive in frail condition propped up on drugs – like my Mum, bless her.

      We started shielding her when this hit Italy.

      As amateur carers my brother and I are bewildered that professional care homes weren’t on to this earlier.

      • Sea Warrior
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

        And I’m similarly bewildered that a No 10 heavy with History grads didn’t think of an early quarantine.

        • Anonymous
          Posted August 4, 2020 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

          Yes. It was well known that this hit old people hardest.

          Just what were care homes being paid up to £2000 a week for ? Spam fritters and mash ???

      • Everhopeful
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 10:13 am | Permalink

        Is there such a thing as a double oxymoron?
        Cos if there is CARE HOME would qualify.
        No care…not a home.
        And a bargain at £1,000 per week. Maybe more now?

        • Fred H
          Posted August 4, 2020 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

          save lives?
          track trace?

    • Stred
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      The deaths per case of countries which use HCQ frequently for malaria are even lower. Quatar 0.3%. UAE 0.6%.
      India is using it too and is still low even with its huge population and poverty.
      Re John Hopkins University covid resource.

      • Stred
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        UK and Belgium are 15.3%

    • Caterpillar
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 1:03 pm | Permalink


      Re fist para. Yes 6 consecutive weeks (I think unadjusted for pop’n growth) under the 5 year average up to 24 July.

      Given the shutting down of the NHS for many others this is remarkable.

    • Mark B
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 3:26 pm | Permalink


      Stop using morbid statistics. What about the number of people that caught it and survived ? I bet that that is far higher and more positive.

  11. Nigl
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Is it just me or has there been a total absence of criticism from Tory MPs allegedly representing their constituents, even the ‘rent a quote’ have said nothing.

    I know mine salutes when told to or stays quiet.

    We often ask why/how HMG gets away with things obvious failures etc. Covid, I think, has demonstrated why.

    • JoolsB
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      They all stick to the party line however absurd and indefensible. Party before constituents every time.

      • Mark B
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        Psrty before country even. Step out of line and you get the whip removed and an end to a nice cushy career.

  12. Sea Warrior
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    I was heartened by the news yesterday that there has been a breakthrough in cheap, rapid testing. May I suggest that some of that capability needs to be made available to lubricate the wheels of air-travel? Perhaps you might pressure Grant Shapps – if he’s out of quarantine yet – to get a wiggle on. The owner of Hayes Travel, speaking on the radio this morning, after having to cut nearly a thousand jobs, mentioned that his business was just about able to cope until the Spain restrictions were introduced (with, I add, this government’s trademark zero-notice).

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      This ‘zero-notice’ is a difficult one, if the government give notice then everyone takes action quicker to either get out before restrictions or back earlier than planned.

      When the lockdown is coming to London was announced on the Wednesday before lockdown by Nicola Sturgeon, everyone with second homes packed up and left London to their second homes or to family homes and took the virus around the Country with them.

  13. Andy
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    There is no doubt that the virus has posed a monumental challenge to all countries and all governments. There is also no doubt that, among developed countries, our government’s response has been just about the worse. Trump excepted of course. America has been an even worse car crash.

    Voters have been forgiving. They have understood the immense difficulty of balancing what amounts to the health of the wealthy vs the wealth of the healthy. But there really is now no forgiving this continuingly inept response. The troubles we have now all stem from four disastrous decisions made early on:
    1) failure to lockdown quickly enough
    2) failure to expand track and trace
    3) ridiculous belief in British exceptionalism
    4) failure to quarantine arrivals

    We are now just lurching from crisis to crisis via the odd catastrophe. If a company had performed so badly its boss and board would have been let go a long time ago. It really is long since time that we let the boss go. Who could have guessed that the ability to guffaw in Latin was probably insufficient to be able to run a country? Well, me for a start.

    • villaking
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      Andy, there were only two disastrous decisions and neither are on your list. It was a complete dereliction of duty not to protect care homes where most deaths occurred. But the the truly catastrophic decision was the lockdown itself. Nobody is able to produce any evidence that it saved a single life but there is abundant evidence that it has brought misery to many and destroyed our way of life and our economy for a generation.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

        No, you can’t prove that if you didn’t give CPR to an electric shock victim, that their heart and respiration would not have just started up again by itself.

        So CPR is a waste of time, says villaking.

        The infection rate fell dramatically after the lockdown.

        • Fred H
          Posted August 4, 2020 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

          confused nonsense.

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      I’m not at all sure 1) people would have been willing to lock down any earlier, there were lots of complaints at the time about the restrictions of liberty, plus when you think about it, Scotland didn’t have so many cases when it locked down so it would be the example of locking down one week earlier than London did and it didn’t stop it running its course there. The lockdown should have only been three weeks.
      2) I agree with you the fact that Germany and its healthcare system was set up to do this so quickly should be an element of total embarrassment to PHE. The re-opening after three weeks was held up because we couldn’t track and trace.
      3) there are more people like you Andy who are quick to run down Britain and its people. There are also lots of people who no longer trust our scientists and Health organisers.
      4) Totally agree, the number of planes arriving in each day unchecked, several people getting off the planes and going straight into hospital should be investigated.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      You yourself are guilty of British exceptionalism in thinking we should have done better than France, Italy, Spain and Belgium. Why ? The jury is still out on whether we locked down too late – personally I’m happier facing winter in London where about 15-20% of the population has already had Covid.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      Yes, sadly we are not now in the position that were NZ, Aus, S. Korea, Taiwan, Japan etc., when they made their wise decisions on how to act.

      We are up to our necks in it, like the US.

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

        What do they all have in common ?

        All largely monocultural with lockable borders.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 5, 2020 at 9:43 am | Permalink

          The UK is a few islands for pity’s sake.

          China has huge land borders, but has still virtually wiped out the contagion.

          Your blatant grovelling to your masters is pretty toe-curling

    • NickC
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      Andy, When I said we should lock down our borders (your no.4) back in March you descibed my suggestion as “xenophobic”. Now you try and slip in the policy on the sly. Then you have the cheek to moan about others incompetence. You would govern by daft slogan even more than Boris does.

  14. Nigel
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Read Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail today. He sums it all up perfectly.

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink


    • JoolsB
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      He always does Nigel. He’s far more in touch with reality than any of the current incumbents.

    • BOF
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      A top man with his finger on the pulse.

  15. David C
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    The way to defeat the virus exists – we need to start using it says Professor of Epidemiology, MD, PhD (with over 300 peer reviewed publications). See NewsWeek.

    Simple: “the medication hydroxychloroquine. When this inexpensive oral medication is given very early in the course of illness, before the virus has had time to multiply beyond control, it has shown to be highly effective, especially when given in combination with the antibiotics azithromycin or doxycycline and the nutritional supplement zinc.”

    Are you aware of this and have you read the many published papers globally about this?

    • Everhopeful
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      They can’t do that!
      The virus has been rendered political and use of hydroxychloroquine would endorse Trump. (And Boris always has to be a little “offish“ re Trump).
      Obviously if people are ill…no stone should be left unturned..all cures should be considered.
      But that is sanity and we don’t live in a sane world.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      I reported on this a few weeks back Dolores Cahill vs James Delingpole interview.

      Hydroxychloroquine, Vits C, D and Zinc (supplements which I and my family have been taking for months – probably unnecessarily) has shown good results.

      Unfortunately Trump haters demonised hydroxychloroquine which has a record of saving tens of millions of lives having been administered routinely and to many patients long term – all of a sudden it’s more lethal than cyanide.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 11:28 am | Permalink

        In amongst all the various failures in handling Covid the British press has been the worst offender – in another EU country I am currently in the subject is covered maturely, factually and with the emphasis on information transfer. The screeching relentless partisan scaremongering of the UK press – the Guardian and Daily Mail to the fore – has been actively damaging as has been their refusal to pass on even simple instructions without wailing “We’re confused. We don’t understand. Fury as government advice descends into chaos”. Their scaremongering will have directly caused many deaths by sowing fear.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        No, they don’t demonise it.

        It’s simply that proper clinical trials are very difficult to conduct.

        There’s an ethical problem, because some studies have apparently shown that it increases the death rate, and the water has been muddied by fraudulent claims.

        • Anonymous
          Posted August 4, 2020 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

          They said it risks heart attacks.

          I’d better not take it if I go abroad then.

      • Mark B
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

        I would imagine that the patents for such a drug have long run out. But a nice new shinney, expensive vaccine will be just a effective 😉

    • Christine
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      Given early and given with zinc this drug has been proven to save lives. The pharmaceutical don’t like it because it’s cheap. I highlighted the benefit of this drug months ago. I was appalled when the Lancet published a study stating it caused heart problems and the WHO stopped all trials on its use. The study was debunked as totally bogus after hundreds of doctors wrote to the Lancet to complain. Interestingly the scientists who had previously been working on the gain of function for COVID actually produced a paper, several years ago, on the benefits of taking anti-viral drugs with ZINC yet they have gone completely quiet on this fact. Something is wrong, very wrong.

      • Iago
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

        Quite agree, it is sinister.

    • Stred
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for that. I could find nothing on Google yesterday but endless put downs of the front line doctors who released their conference video last week. The official line of the anti Trump media is that the randomized blind trials from Oxford and the New England journal found no positive treatment using HCQ. However, these trials were on hospitalised patients in the stage where oxygen was being offered and even moderate to severe patients and the same antibiotics and zinc were not repeated in line with the early teeereatments given by the claimed successful trials by Zelenco and Raoult.
      The efficiency of the put down was notable. The Nigerian doctor who has some strange religious beliefs from her country had treated patients with HCQ in the same way as all of the other doctors but complaints that she cured other ailments by killing chickens was put about. This appeared after her video. The authorities have a motive for continuing their ban on this simple inexpensive treatment. If it is proved, then thousands of lives will be shown to have been needlessly wasted.

    • cornishstu
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      There are a lot of doctors who are coming out saying the same thing who have had very high success rates even with patients in the vulnerable category, they have used it on themselves as a prophylactic dose with success also. From what I understand the studies that dismiss it as being of benefit used very high doses, resulting in detrimental outcome compared to what is being used in the real world by these doctors with success.

  16. The Prangwizard
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    If I owned a bar or restaurant where I’ve had put up screens between tables I’d consider making them into permant booths creating a quieter and more intimate atmosphere, and thus charge higher prices. Wouldn’t work everywhere of course.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      And call it a Saloon Bar, perhaps? Off to the Patent Office.

  17. Bryan Harris
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    There certainly should be better guidelines regarding masks — Having virus-free individuals forced to wear masks is not only irrational…. It demonstrates how scared everyone has become, due to the constant garbage that TV promotes
    The guidelines should be that anyone with any symptoms stays home or wears an effective mask —- Forcing everyone to wear a mask is stopping people going out and that will contribute heavily to our economic downfall
    The virus is going to be here long after we’re gone — hiding from it will do no good because it will find ways to stay alive — Confronting it is the only real option.

    It’s pretty clear that a second wave is planned — If we go into another total lockdown the country will not survive it economically — Stop the silly TV scare stories, and let’s approach this rationally — Let’s have some joined up thinking from government…!

  18. Jessica Hallom
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    There was never any justification for the lockdown in the first place. There is no evidence that it did any good at all and huge evidence that it killed tens of thousands of people and wrecked the economy. This virus has a survival rate of 99.972%, better than flu or a dozen other illnesses yet the media and government have whipped up an absurd panic and instituted unlawful, unscientific and downright ludicrous measures that should result in trials and jail time for all the players involved in this farce.
    As far as I am concerned none of the ruling class has any legitimacy or right to give orders to anybody at any time.

    • James Bertram
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      Well said, Jessica.
      Have pretty much said the same, (if my heavily critical post gets past moderation).

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      Your percentage for survival is completely wrong, by whole orders.

      It has already killed ~ 0.1% of the entire population, never mind of the small percentage who actually caught it.

      So if everyone had had it, then the survival rate would have been 99.9%. However tests show that only about 7% of the population have, so the death rate is rather poorer than one in a hundred cases, it appears.

      • Jonah
        Posted August 5, 2020 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        (45000/67,920000) x100 = 0.06%

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 6, 2020 at 6:41 am | Permalink

          I was working on excess deaths. And do you not know what the mathematical symbol “~” means?

  19. Andyc71
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Does nobody in government understand or even read the statistics they publish?

    COVID came and went in a genuinely nasty three week wave. Since then it has faded, to the point where much of the country is now entirely free of it. Anyone can check out where they live here:

    My own local area (in Greater Manchester no less) has recorded just three cases in the past nine weeks. What we’re seeing now is a residual background level of cases in a few areas, almost all of which are trivial or asymptomatic. The perceived spikes are just an artefact of greater localised testing. There has been no corresponding rise in hospitalisations or serious medical interventions. Deaths have below the seasonal average for several weeks now.

    And yet… more lockdowns. More extension of scientifically illiterate (oh yes it is) mask wearing. People can have pubs or schools open, but not both. Huge numbers of other serious medical conditions going untreated or undiagnosed. More wanton and unopposed destruction of our economy, social fabric and civil liberties. For what? When will it end? What’s next, compulsory vaccination? Not that there is likely to be a vaccine any time soon, but try telling that to the fools in charge, who are happy to read the pharma industry’s PR pieces and write the blank cheques.

    I’m coming to think that the response to COVID has been the greatest failure of public policymaking since August 1914. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that there are people at the top of our ‘ruling’ class who are ignorant, malignly authoritarian or quite possibly both. Maybe they’ve been driven mad. The Health Secretary has certainly taken leave of his senses, and I suspect the PM is not far behind him. First we were told it was about flattening the curve. It’s flat. Then we were told it was about saving the NHS. The NHS has come under no serious pressure, aside from a brief and easily resolved PPE bottleneck. Now we’re told it’s about preventing a second wave, for which there is no evidence. How about a third wave, or a fourth? How will we respond to the next disagreeable disease to emanate from the far east, as it does from time to time? Once governments start down the road of removing people’s liberties – even if with good intentions – they swiftly find reasons why those liberties are best not restored.

    • NickC
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      AndyC17, Excellently argued.

  20. John E
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    There will be no economic recovery while the virus is uncontrolled.

    Getting a proper track and trace system in place is the key and still far from accomplished. The new 90 minute tests are great news. Our scientists may yet save us and the world given a bit more time.

    It’s criminally crazy to push people back on to public transport if they can do their jobs just as well at home. Minimise travel to reduce the spread.

    We all know Boris is hopelessly out of his depth and we see him and the government flipping and flopping from day to day on partial data. The basis of the numbers is constantly changing such that even an intelligent numerate person would struggle to block out the statistical noise and reach sound decisions.
    Boris and his minder don’t have a clue, which is why we mostly block them out as much as we can. There was some black entertainment in laughing at them for a while but that’s run dry now.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      A flu pandemic hit the world in 1968 which wiped out similar numbers of people to CV-19.

      In 1969 man set foot on the moon.

      There was no economic crash.

      My – how we’ve changed.

      • glen cullen
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

        We haven’t change…. the media has !!!

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

        But it infected many times more people than have so far had covid19.

        • Anonymous
          Posted August 4, 2020 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

          We don’t know how many people have had CV-19 because the vast majority who get it don’t know they’ve had it.

          • glen cullen
            Posted August 5, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

            correct – and most have it without any problems

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 5, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

            We do have a general idea, by random antibody testing of the population, as is going on here and in many other countries.

            It’s a few percent typically.

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      “The local authority with the highest infection rate in England has launched its own contact-tracing system to plug holes in the £10bn national scheme” The Guardian.
      “Dominic Harrison, the Blackburn with Darwen council’s director of public health, said the government programme was “simply not tracing enough cases and contacts fast enough”.The move reflects growing frustration among local health officials with the national test-and-trace system”

      Boris needs to answer this accusation and quickly!

      “In other areas, including Leicester and Liverpool, council workers have also been carrying out door-to-door tracing” Jon Ainsworth “Boris Johnson handed multimillion pound contacts to firms like Serco and the claimed his approach was ‘world beating’. Given infection rates are now rising and local areas are in lockdown it’s no wonder local authorities are now abandoning Johnson’s failed approach and setting up their own systems.”

      This doesn’t read well!

    • forthurst
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      The response of this government to Covid-19 has been extraordinarily inept but not surprising, not surprising because Arts graduates go through life blagging their way from job to job without any sound scientific basis to bring to bear to the task in hand; for preference they will promote their fellow Arts graduates as well; hence the government’s belated response to Covid-19 was to introduce a centralised test and trace operation overseen by an Arts graduate and the facilities of a service provider to recruit large numbers of people without proper training while the resources of GPs and local heath authorities’ existing infectious disease tracing capability was entirely ignored. Yet attempting to operate track and trace by long distance phone calls of non-professionals rather at the scene of a cluster by professonals never made any sense. If a local outbreak became to much for a local response team, then send in mobile re-enforcements.
      Mass testing can operate in tandem with targetted testing but should never have been a substitute for the latter.

    • Mark B
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      Nobody is pushing anyone on to public transport. They are however pushing people away from work.

  21. Ian Wilson
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    There’s an excellent piece in Conservative Woman “Johnson Isn’t Listening to the Right Scientists”. Professor Carl Henaghan has done what should have been blindingly obvious to anyone, though apparently not to the government advisers, and divided the number of infections by tests undertaken and showing there is no increasing trend at all. Another consultant suggests the term “second wave” should be banned by ministers. Absolutely.
    And perhaps someone can explain why we are quarantining arrivals from Spain hence further crippling the travel industry when Britain is recording 65 deaths a days and Spain 4. Likewise restrictions from Sweden and Portugal bear no statistical logic.

    • Stred
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      It’s also in the Spectator. If decisions are being taken based on absolute numbers of cases and not adjusted for number of tests, then we are truly in the hands of incompetents.

    • Mark B
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 3:36 pm | Permalink


  22. Ian @Barkham
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    This is from the UK MD of a large multinational Belgium company I having dealings with who supply’s the UK building trades. spectacular’ recovery in June, sales in July were up a record-breaking 31.9% year-on-year, 20.9% ahead of our pre-Covid budget.

    Always positive, masses of ‘Common Sense’ always ahead of the hand wringers. HMG has to set the UK free, it cant and it has shown it cant dictate and succeed in its prescription of one size fits all. Good Government guides, bad government try’s to rule.

  23. JoolsB
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    “On the plus side for the U.K. industry are some of the quarantine restrictions and bans on foreign travel. The decision on Spain in particular gives the U.K. holiday industry a real boost as you would expect many more people to holiday in the U.K. “

    True but the only problem with that is that down here in St. Ives, we are currently getting masses of people that normally go to places like Benidorm and Magaluf choosing to flout the rules here instead.

  24. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    I note that scientists are this morning involved in a “if more people go out and about the virus will spread” back to school shock.

    The media love these stories and the public laps them up. While fear proliferates we can not rebuild our economy.

    It would be very interesting to see the savings and debt ratios for the last four months. I assume that anyone who has kept their job will be much better off than before, the real fear factor is how long can people keep their jobs?

  25. Pat
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Either we reach herd immunity or we isolate from the rest of the world until the disease has disappeared worldwide. The latter is impossible as the boats arriving in the South coast testify. Even without that problem we need to import stuff to survive. Without herd immunity we will be chasing this disease forever, as just one infected person coming into the country will start a new outbreak.
    It would be lovely to reach herd immunity via. a vaccine, but we can’t count on that.
    To judge by the continued decline in deaths, hospitalisations, and infections detected per test administered we are very close to herd immunity already. The rise in cases detected is solely caused by the increase in tests administered.
    Stop scaring people, especially since the all cause death rate is at an all time low!
    Schools in Sweden never closed, and the all cause death rate for Swedes under 25 is a little below normal.
    The government needs to replace its current medical advisors with ones not interested in milking the situation, and open everything up.
    The disease is beat, it is the fear that needs to be conquered.

    • James Bertram
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      Excellent post, Pat (just common sense, really – but sadly lacking amongst our politicians and media).

    • glen cullen
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      +1 agree

  26. fedupsoutherner
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    The way youngsters are behaving is appaling. It is preventing many businesses from operating normally. I find the idea of over 50’s being kept indoors a horrible prospect. Surely we are able to live our lives as safely as we can. Most of us have common sense. Many on us still work and for those who have been made redundant what chance will they have of ever working again if this policy is brought in? Nobody will take on the over 50’s and yet we still have bills to pay and in many cases mortgages etc.

    Get these idiots that are protesting off the streets and let’s get the country back to normal. Where I live the numbers of infections are low and I have been going about my daily business as normal from the start. I had to go shopping for provisions and I walked my dog daily.. When allowed I met with friends in the garden. We do know how to be sensible.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      I am pleased the young are out and about gaining herd immunity.

      I wish more of us were, thus improving the economy too.

      Back to normal ASAP. I travelled on the tube three times in the last week and it is empty. Until we solve the fear of proximity our economy will shrink. We have a lot of people (including those arrived since 2000) to support.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      Wear a mask when in public places then.

    • Martin
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      I have some sympathy with what you have written.

      Being retired I self regulate my days out going to potentially more crowded places on quieter days.

      Governments should make it clear to those breaking the rules that the full force of the law will be used on them. Drive past a speed camera or traffic police on an empty motorway on a Sunday morning and the “I don’t like the rules or agree with them” argument cuts no ice.

      Going forward we will all have to get used to living with this virus for some time. I can see local and targetted lock downs being the way forward. At least that way the whole UK economy isn’t going to be further hammered.

      Anyway MOT test in a few days so its back to some sort of normality!

      • Mark B
        Posted August 5, 2020 at 5:10 am | Permalink

        And if your car gets stopped just outside the MOT Centre as you are leaving and the police find faults with it, tough luck, you know the rules;)

  27. Everhopeful
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    I know!
    Let’s all just forget about whatever virus and go back to life.
    Stop treating well people as if they were ill and stop making them ill.
    Give them their health service back ( such as it was).
    Just leave us alone!
    And probably that little, teeny-weeny, filterable ( through the finest porcelain!!) virus will leave us alone too!

    • Everhopeful
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      A World Influenza Centre was set up in 1947 in London under the auspices of WHO.
      Is it still going?
      If it is it hasn’t got very far has it?

  28. a-tracy
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    John, do you honestly believe your government are doing a great job communicating about CV19, a good job, an adequate job or could do better?

    For what it is worth I think it could do better. You shouldn’t have to follow Professor Karol Sikora on twitter for a bit of perspective and balance or David Paton. The Prof is especially worried about people not going for cancer screening because of fear of this virus in hospitals 450 people per day die of cancer.

    1 day ago the Prof tweeted “In England, the number of people in hospital with the virus cotinues to drop. It’s now 769, a month ago it was over 2000. There are 68 patients in mechanical ventialtion beds, a month ago it was over 200. No rises yet, in fact these stats are continuing to fall.

    • Mark B
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 5:15 am | Permalink

      Well I certainly would not have listened to someone who has a 100% failure rate when it came to predicting things. And neither would I listen to the BBC. The government had access to some of the finest minds and only chose to listen to some dodgy (person ed) It saw an oppotunity to boost its ratings by going all Churchill. Trouble is, it did a too good a job and is now desperately trying to undo the mess it has created.

      In my view, it has been wreakless.

  29. a-tracy
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    There is also a twitter account if anyone is interesting called @UKCovid19Stats

    “UK covid 19 infections by date reported. There were 1,114,625 (+45%) more tests to see if a person has the virus in July than in June. With a large amount of targeted testing being carried out in hotspots, an increase in infections is to be expected”

    We’re not told what the risky activities are that are spreading this virus. Even if we only checked people who are admitted into hospital with it right now, it would give the public the knowledge to see what is dangerous to do.

    Or the five deaths NHS England reported yesterday, how long were the patients in hospital for, what treatments did they have, what age were they, how long were they ventilated for, did they come into hospital from their home in this Country, had they been fully locked down? Who visited them (carers, GP , family), were there other health conditions.

    How can we be alert if we don’t know what we are being alert to.

    Your government are telling us it is safe to travel to Spain and Italy and France, I don’t think it is but it’s just a feeling I have that they are covering up rising cases to keep their tourism industry open. But if we have a spike in the UK because of this from the end of August and through September it will be Boris in trouble for not providing the safety information.

  30. James Bertram
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    a) In July, according to the Times: The coronavirus epidemic was probably already in retreat before full lockdown was imposed, the Chief Medical Officer for England has said …… “Quite a lot changed that led to R going below one well before, or to some extent before, March 23”, when full lockdown was imposed, Professor Whitty said.
    b) A little-known Government report from April was revealed in July by Sir Patrick Vallance estimating more than 200,000 people could die as a result of the lockdown in a reasonable worst case scenario.

    So the Government has known for a long time that Full Lockdown was not necessary; and that such extreme measures could kill 200,000 UK citizens (not counting those additional 1.6 billion unemployed in the Third World – which will lead to many deaths there).

    This government in a few months has:
    – killed far more citizens from its stupid interventions than those who would have died of the virus.
    – ruined our health service
    – destroyed our economy
    – taken away our liberties
    – damaged our democracy
    – trashed the social fabric and cohesion of society.

    The Prime Minister should have the courage to admit his errors, (and probably resign); or Tory MPs should force him to resign.
    That would get life back to normal – not any more silly attempts to ‘control the virus.’ nor any more Tory MPs trying to provide cover for this disastrous shambles.

    • DOM
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      Who’s running the country, Johnson or his better half? Either way, the London-centric political class are laying the foundations that will lead to social implosion. I believe this is deliberate, spiteful and criminal in intent

      • Mark B
        Posted August 5, 2020 at 5:16 am | Permalink

        Neither. Do not believe all that you hear or read.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

      When this all comes out (if allowed) in a future enquiry it will be tragically too late.

  31. Sea Warrior
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Looking at the graphs on the Worldometer site today, and bringing up the 7-day averages, makes me think that the pandemic (in terms of both deaths and cases) has now peaked. There, I’ve called it first!
    P.S. And yes, we do still need to distance-up, wash-up and mask-up.

  32. Christine
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    I went walking in The Lake District yesterday and I’ve never in my lifetime seen it so busy on the walking trails. Either people are having staycations or they are not working. There were also several signs in windows advertising for staff. I also took advantage of the discounted meal offer. The restaurant was well organised and full. It’s good to see the economy improving but I fear we have a long way to go yet.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      Opposite in France. I’m the solitary English person in an hotel on a main holiday thoroughfare. They are all indeed in Bournemouth/Lakes.

    • Mark B
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 5:19 am | Permalink

      People are being paid to stay at home. Let us see how many people are on those trails next year when unemployment is in the millions.

  33. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    10 am – -and I’ve just seen reports that “multiple boats” have already been met and the occupants ferried into the UK. Clearly NOTHING is to be done about stopping this. When are you going to just all leave your jobs and abandon us – – though it seems you already have.


    • glen cullen
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      today 8 boats and 120 migrants brought to the UK, the Home Office has said….could be more

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 6, 2020 at 6:43 am | Permalink

        And you care about that more than about scores of thousands of needless deaths of British people, it seems.

    • rose
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

      The Geneva Convention, The ECHR, the Human Rights Act, and the Equality Act will all have to be revised or repealed or departed from. The whole illegal immigration racket has to be dismantled and legal aid witheld from the unscrupulous lawyers. Maritime Law doesn’t help us either as long as the French don’t play their part.

      • glen cullen
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

        agreed – and we need a government with the bottle to make the changes and fast

      • beresford
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

        Don’t blame the French, look closer to home. Australia handled the problem without requiring any assistance from other countries, be they willing or unwilling.

        • Mark B
          Posted August 5, 2020 at 5:21 am | Permalink

          Yep. Transport them to a cold bleak Scottish Island and not some 4 Star hotel. One North Atlantic Winter will soon make them want to return.

          • Fred H
            Posted August 5, 2020 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

            and once all finished it would make an ideal prison.

        • glen cullen
          Posted August 5, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

          but this government sub-contracts everything

  34. BOF
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Day by day the economic damage mounts, as well as the damage to health, education and society. What I do keep hearing, and on the radio this morning from a top WHO person (name forgotten) is that when a vaccine comes along we can get back to normal.

    I can only conclude that this is the plan and until then the fear mongering and damaging, but pointless lockdowns must continue. Despite the mortality rate being below the seasonal average for 3 or 4 weeks now. There must be another agenda.

  35. glen cullen
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Sweden is a good example

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      Of what?

      • NickC
        Posted August 5, 2020 at 11:18 am | Permalink

        Read JR’s post. Duh!

  36. Bob
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    The govt’s originally policy to encourage hygene, shield the most vulnerable and allow the young and healthy to naturally achieve immunity is now looking rather sensible.

    • rose
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      Yes, indeed, but the media were more powerful and made the universal curfew a fait accompli by panicking the population indoors.

  37. Ian @Barkham
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Our wonderful government keeps banging out the mantra that it will be lead by ‘science’ Now at 6 months or more in, no science has been produced in a way that any logical person could make as assessment or create a direction as to the true state of play. Yes it is a new disease, yes we haven’t been here before, as such mistakes are inevitable. But lead by ‘science’? Science is only science when it is ‘peer’ reviewed. HMG version of science is a secrete society. Dominate and rule is coming over as the aim.

    This bit isn’t new, and history has shown the reason for this get out clause. T&C’s from the ONS in relationship to its data.
    No warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and ONS does not accept any liability for error or omission. ONS is not responsible for how the information is used, how it is interpreted or what reliance is placed on it.

    We do not guarantee that the information on is fit for any particular purpose.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 9:16 pm | Permalink


      Whilst I whole heartedly agree with your sentiment, peer review does not make science. Peer review is part of the professionalisation of research (whether in the natural or social sciences), if anything it reduces replicability and reproducibility tests. More disastrously it puts counting publications ahead of science i.e. ajead of the search for truth.

  38. Everhopeful
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    A Smuggler’s Song. by Rudyard Kipling

    “If you wake at midnight, and hear a horse’s feet,
    Don’t go drawing back the blind, or looking in the street,
    Them that ask no questions isn’t told a lie.
    Watch the wall my darling while the Gentlemen go by”.

    Ah yes…they’d be the gentlemen who allow our statues to be destroyed and turn a blind eye to paramilitary marches….and the ones narrowing the roads and buying up English vineyards and failing businesses. The ones keeping interest rates at record lows and build, build, building! The ones letting in untold numbers of newcomers. The ones promoting cancel culture and taking away academic freedom and freedom of speech. The ones, that is, who are generally eviscerating our country.
    Those gentlemen!!! While we face the wall…locked indoors!!

    I didn’t see nuffink…honest!

  39. ian
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Sweden dater on C 19 herd immunity will be released this week, the young people in the UK seem to prefer herd immunity and see no reason to isolate while older people are the opposite while gov is still flip flopping around on what to do as you can see by letting people herd together in seaside resorts but not in cities, this suggests to me that the gov trying to protect people who have come to the UK from outside of EU area and live in cities, most of the deaths have come from care homes or elderly people or people from outside of the EU area, I have still not seen any advice from the gov on taking vitamin and other things people can do to boost their immune systems and still going on about some vaccine that will not be fully tested for human consumption.

  40. mancunius
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    The UK statistics agencies are reporting six consecutive weeks in England and Wales where the number of registered deaths has fallen below the five-year average, bringing the number of excess deaths down to 63,500.
    When Lloyd George fell gravely ill in 1918 during the second wave of Spanish Flu, did he insist on shutting down the country’s industrial productions and closing all its schools?
    No. He insisted everything should continue as usual.

  41. ian
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Everybody at the moment is enjoying gov stimulus and a moratorium on debt owed to the financial institution, but how long can it last before banks want their money?

  42. Caterpillar
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    To save the economy the PM’s mindset needs to be changed. During the initial stages of the epidemic he accepted that CV19 was an existential threat and then cast this metaphorically as a war – a virus ‘to be beaten’. His and the Government’s responses were then to direct resources and make decisions within the framework of an existential threat. The decisions made may even be defensible within this understanding, one that was unfortunately not challenged by either the opposition parties or the media.

    Outside the pressure cooker of responsibility it was clear that this was not an existential threat, even the reasonable worse case estimates of 250k to 600k deaths (unless they were predominantly young and healthy) could not justify an economic destruction greater than that of the global financial crisis (which stopped the increase of life expectancy in the U.K., 2 years potential increase at birth lost, 1 year potential increase at age 65 lost). Free from responsibility, one could note that a drop of 20% in GDP risked pushing the U.K. away from developed status. It should now be abundantly clear (to those free from Govt responsibility) that it is the economy, and the associated health, social and cultural fallout, that presents the existential threat.

    The PM’s mindset needs to be changed, I suggest that the PM presents the data on estimates of infected fatality rates as a function of age and underlying condition, how these have changed with improving case fatality rates and the effects of these in changing underlying death rates. Having to present the data may help the transition in mindset.

    As the availability of different tests increases, I again appeal for a designed, stratified testing regime. It is not just having testing that matters it is using them appropriately. (Does Mr Hancock have to go to get this right?)

    To reduce people’s uncertainty whilst maintaining the mobility of resources, I again appeal for UBI. (Mr Sunak also needs to go, apart from under a short-sharp three week lock down model then normality the job retention scheme was unethical in its differential valuation of individuals and ineffective in encouraging resource mobility. As for the short-term market distortion of burger benefit payments and temporary stamp duty changes one can only sigh. Number 11 needs to be fully separated from Number 10).

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

      The worst PM and the worst government in British history I’m afraid to say.

      In the coming weeks more and more people will be saying so.

  43. ian
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    What usually happens is the banks stop lending to businesses who do not have the turn over anymore to repay their debts, supplies are crediting businesses with goods and services, and end up not being paid, and then distribution centres get hit which in turn hits the factories and importers, everybody then wants the cash up front which leads to distribution centres and factories to start selling goods directly to the public to obtain cash, most independently owned small businesses who sell directly to the public will shut unless they are very good at what they do, hundreds of thousands of small businesses will be put up for sale by banks at cut prices to try to recover some of their losses.

  44. ian
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Houses are selling like hot cakes outside of the big cities.

    • Fred H
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      but not in Cardiff?

  45. David Brown
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Overall I agree with you, however:
    Reports from SAGE (mmm well it must be true lol) the Track and Trace System is not good enough.
    Around 18 million Brits normally holiday in Spain and wet cold expensive weeks holiday in Britain is not the same. Brits want Benidorm – sun; sea; booze; cheap flight cheap hotel; night life until day break ohh yes.
    To lock down or not to lock down that is the question, my conclusion is the Gov had difficult Political choices because no lock down would have been very unpopular by the majority and hospitality would have suffered the same due to scared customers.
    The big problem now is the potential double effect of job losses caused by Covid and then by Brexit. It was always known there would be some losses through Brexit but if the economy was strong there would be a relative quick bounce back. Now its probably more difficult, and on top of this there is asylum numbers dramatically increasing so the GOV is getting squeezed.
    IN respect to GDP well all Western countries have suffered – may be the next decade will be for the Tiger economies of the East and not just China.

  46. Ian
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Ther will be no recovery here while this Government is in , they are all Remainers, they want us to fail, so that we are not seen to be better than the EU, we will then be a run entirely by the EU, and kept broken.
    Plenty of whistle blowers here today, long may they keep the truth coming out.
    Sorry everyone but we are betrayed yet again Big time !
    This time on an epic scale.
    Perhaps we can now get rid of the BBC for good.
    Come on people let’s get the real truth out, much more of the truth please,let’s just see how bad this political class really is and just how many lives have been lost for H M G to shine ?

    • Andy
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

      The government are all Remainers? Really? Boris Johnson and Michael Gove literally led the Leave campaign. Dominic Cummings ran it. Patel, Mogg and Raab all supported it.

      This is a Brexit government. This is also an incompetent government. The two are linked.

      • beresford
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

        Boris famously had two speeches prepared, one supporting ‘Leave’ and one supporting ‘Remain’. The main thing keeping him honest is the pike points of a majority of Conservative MPs in the small of his back.

      • NickC
        Posted August 5, 2020 at 11:24 am | Permalink

        Andy, We would have left sooner or later anyway. The EU is an over-centralised dirigiste copy of the Roman Empire. It is not suited to our worldview. A few authoritarians such as you and Martin like it but you are in the decided minority.

  47. John Hatfield
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:14 pm | Permalink
  48. glen cullen
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    Eight boats have been stopped in the Channel and 120 migrants brought to the UK, the Home Office has said

    • beresford
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

      Heard elsewhere……

      Apparently French parents are banning their children from paddling on the beach in case they’re picked up by Border Farce and taken to Dover.

  49. alastair harris
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    How much damage has to be caused before the government will accept it must stop its ruinous actions?

  50. Ed M
    Posted August 5, 2020 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    The main problem is the stupidity and irresponsibility of people.

    We can have a thriving economy whilst beating this virus but only if people are sensible. Lots of young and even older people seem to be violating social distancing. Most dramatically seeing large crowds of people drinking on the streets in Soho (which I saw in the media). Thousands of drunk people rubbing shoulders and potentially passing on the virus.

    We’ve got to get rid of this stupid behaviour by the police getting stricter and handing out more fines. Perhaps a special part of the police dedicated towards this until this pandemic is over. It’s not about health but also about the economy. People want to feel safe (whether people agree with them or not) when they go out and not feel they’re going to pick up the virus. Etc. If not, they won’t go out and buy and spend money in general.

    • Ed M
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 12:06 am | Permalink

      Again, I’m talking about the most extreme cases – but cases that can really potentially pass on the virus. I’m not talking about most people who strive to do their best (although the population needs to be reminded again and again – through advertising – to remember to wash hands frequently and keep 2 metres distance).

  51. na
    Posted August 5, 2020 at 2:11 am | Permalink

    Our worry is the govt are intentionally trying to destroy parts of the economy as part of this ‘Great Reset’ and they are using this alleged virus to do so.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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